Preparing for Social Isolation

My pantry

I am guessing you have coronavirus, or Covid-19, on the brain like everyone else. Each state in the US is approaching what to do a little differently, but many schools are already closed and social isolation is recommended for everyone to stay healthy. Having previously worked in public health, I might see things differently from others. What is unique about this virus compared to seasonal flu is that we have no immunity built up. If exposed, you will likely develop the sickness and certainly spread it. Once you do have it and recover, assuming you are healthy enough to recover, you will be immune. The idea today is to not spread the virus. You may be okay, but you could come in contact with someone who might not be. These are the people we are trying to protect by isolating ourselves till the virus is under control.

So how the heck do you prepare to be home for an uncertain amount of time? Not an easy question for many to answer. Especially if you are like me and eat mostly fresh produce.

My fridge
Fridge door

I started by thinking about the things I eat most regularly and how I could continue to eat them without fresh produce. For example, smoothies. I adore a green smoothie for breakfast. So I froze bananas and kale. Woo hoo! And stocked up on the fresh produce I could eat in the next week.

Then I started to think about my favorite meals that require canned and dried ingredients. Sloppy Joes, pots of lentils with broccoli, chili, rice and beans, etc. I made sure I had plenty of the ingredients for these and to bake bread. I also froze chopped green bell peppers for dishes and cooked up mushrooms with onions to freeze in small containers to drop into other dishes.

I also thought about how I can get greens without a grocery store. I picked up dried veggies to start. Then I pulled out my sprouting containers and seeds that I have not had time to utilize.

I also picked up shelf stable soy milk, baked a bunch of muffins to freeze, and made sure I had enough cleaning supplies for at least a month. As well as tissue and supplies in case I do get sick. Not fun to plan for, but better to have than not.

I am lucky. I have the funds to stock up on things. And if the grocery store stays open, which I hope it does, I will go get more fresh produce as needed. My grocery store is next door to me.

If you are planning with fewer funds I recommend the following:

  • Distilled white vinegar for cleaning. This is what I stocked up on
  • Lots of clean rags from old t-shits for cleaning and nose blowing
  • Ibuprofen for fever
  • Ask your local food pantry for a plant-based box or boxes of food. The large organizations will supply them when asked
  • Visit your local inexpensive produce market and freeze what you can

Please stay healthy and safe. We have a long journey ahead. One friend has already contracted and recovered from coronavirus. It was miserable for her, but she is now healthy.

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